Same Ole

STARKVILLE – Andy Kennedy tried to explain once again why his team lost to Mississippi State, this one marking the fifth time in a row, a 71-58 setback Saturday.

The Rebels and Bulldogs were tied 33-33 at halftime. But MSU owned the second half.

"For us it's just making plays," said Kennedy after his team fell to 17-10 overall and 5-7 in Southeastern Conference play. "They obviously made more plays than us in the second half."

Time and time again Mississippi State went downcourt and ran a play to make something happen offensively. Tim and time again, the Rebels would shoot and miss a 3-pointer.

Ole Miss was 4-24 from 3-point range for the game, only 1-for-16 in the second half.


Andy Kennedy
Courtesy: AP
"I thought we had some looks at the basket (in the second half)," Kennedy said. "They went to the zone early in the second half, as they should have. We've struggled against that both times we've played them."

And for years against State.

Team leader Chris Warren was an uncharacteristic 1 for 8 from 3-point range, much like his teammates. When that happens the Rebels, who rely so much on their outside scoring, are doomed.

"We got good looks, we just weren't hitting them," Warren said, with 13 points. "At halftime it was 0-0 and 20 minutes left. They just came out on the better end."

Renardo Sidney plays like an All-American when the Rebels are the opponent. He played well in Oxford, even better here. His stat line was 22 points on 8-12 shooting, with 12 rebounds in 31 minutes.

"You obviously shoot 34 percent for the game and only 4 for 24 from 3, you're going to struggle on the road," Kennedy said. "Their ability to make plays and our inability to make plays was the difference."

MSU, 14-12 and 6-6, methodically extended its lead, and its largest lead was 17 points late in the game.


Renardo Sidney
Courtesy: AP
"I don't know what it is when he plays (Ole Miss)," said Bulldog teammate Riley Benock. "But we need him to do it every game like that."

Zach Graham came out early and paced the Rebels but ended with only 12 points. Terrance Henry had 11.

Ravern Johnson didn't start but followed Sidney with 16 points for the Bulldogs.

MSU shot 46 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range (9 for 22). The Rebels actually outrebounded the Bulldogs 41-34 and on the offensive board 19-8.

"What's so disappointing is we're coming off a 90 point game (90-59 win against Auburn) with 25 made field goals and 19 assists," Kennedy said. "So you would think we're getting it. But then we come down here and start pressing.

"I thought we lost some poise," Kennedy continued. "We lost our poise a little bit when they made that run, and before you know it eight goes to 15."

Kennedy said Ole Miss target Dee Bost, the Bulldogs all-star guard, and were effective. He only had five points but with nine big assists.

Kennedy also said there is a pretty simple evaluation of Sidney against the Rebels, who twice now has had his best games as a Bulldog.

"Obviously he likes the matchup."

Benock said the Bulldogs simply did what they do best.

"A lot of it was our defense," he said. "We had a lot going for us in transition. We had a lot of assists and not many turnovers. This was a game we needed."

So did the Rebels.


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